“If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”Matthew 5:47-48 NLT
It was a hot October afternoon and the sun wasn’t the only thing beaming hot red that day. I remember leaving work, fumed like a train horn because once again work was a complete disaster. On top of that, I lost a close friendship at the time, so my feelings were a rollercoaster of a mess. As I was driving home angry as can be, I looked over to my left and saw a homeless man surrounded by trash and was making something out of the grass next to him. I instantly felt a pang of guilt because here I am acting like a drama queen, when this man has to go around to find scraps of food to eat and where to find shelter for the night. I decided to pull into a nearby drive thru and picked him up some food to eat. As I parked I thought to myself, “what if this guy is, crazy? Am I putting myself in danger? What if he asks for money?
Jesus is a great example of “hangin’ with the outcasts.” The priests and even His own disciples questioned why Jesus often hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, and drunks. Jesus knew of the small chatter against Him, so he decided to teach His disciples important lessons on loving others. One lesson that sticks out the most is in Matthew 5 verses 47-48: “If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Wow! What a bold statement, right? Sometimes I can let my pride and judgement overcome my mind and I am quick to react to negative thoughts. I can look at a guy with torn shoes and a dirt stained shirt and think, “man, he looks gross. Glad I’m not around him!” That man just gave over half his life savings to a local charity. Or, the girl with the skimpy skirt and crop top standing on the side of the road and think, “man, what is she doing out here? Selling her body?” That girl just got abandoned by her fourth foster home, and she’s looking in the wrong ways for love.
To finish my story about my encounter with the homeless man, when I gathered the courage to meet him, he looked at me with a huge smile and said, “please take this.” It was an art piece he made out the grass. He didn’t ask for money or anything, he noticed me and gave to me. What a world this would be if we were all like that man.
I pray for you tonight that you will examine your heart and ask yourself, “am I just loving me? Or do I need to love others more?